INS Detains Hundreds of Muslim and Middle Eastern Immigrants in California

December 19, 2002

Source: ACLU

On December 19, 2002, the American Civil Liberties Union issued a press release stating that "in a development that confirms the American Civil Liberties Union’s initial fears about a controversial immigrant fingerprinting and registration program, the Immigration and Naturalization Service is apparently using the program as a pretext for the mass detention of hundreds of Middle Eastern and Muslim men and boys... Lucas Guttentag, Director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project... [said] 'Attorney General Ashcroft is using the immigrant registration program to lock up people who already have provided extensive information as part of their green card applications... Therefore the purpose is clearly not to get information but rather to selectively arrest, detain and deport Middle Eastern and Muslim men in the United States'... In most cases, it is apparent that the INS arrested men who were simply waiting for approval of their green card applications, or those with minor visa problems caused by incompetence in the agency itself, which has been plagued by an inept bureaucracy for years... By January 10, 2003, citizens of 13 additional countries... must also submit to registration, a move that could push the detentions into the tens of thousands, the ACLU said."